Fear in the Night (1947)

Article #92 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-16-2001
Posting date: 10-30-2001

A man dreams that he stabs someone in an octagonal room of mirrors and locks the body in a closet, and when he wakes up, he discovers marks on his throat, a strange key in his hand, and blood on his cuff. His policeman brother-in-law tries to convince him it was just a dream, and his search for the house in which the murder took place yields nothing. Then, one day, while trying to find shelter from the rain, he finds himself taking refuge in the house from his dream.

This movie is more of a noir/mystery than a fantastic movie, but it contains certain elements that link it with the horror genre; one is the bizarre dream sequences, and the other has to do with the role hypnotism plays in the story. “Star Trek” fans will of course recognize the dreaming man as DeForest Kelley; his brother-in-law is played by Paul Kelly. This is a pretty good mystery, though I was able to figure out what the explanation would be long before the end of the movie. It was based on the novel “Nightmare” by Cornell Woolrich (the same man responsible for the novel on which THE LEOPARD MAN was based), and the movie would be remade just 9 years later by the same director as NIGHTMARE, with Edward G. Robinson in the Paul Kelly role.


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